Category Archives: Animation

Planet of the Aces

Victor Field sees composer extraordinaire Danny Elfman cut loose at the Royal Albert Hall

Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction stands in for Helena Bonham Carter
Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction stands in for Helena Bonham Carter

Until Monday 8 October 2013, I’d never have thought that I’d celebrate a first at the same time as Danny Elfman, but there you are. That night was the first time I’d ever attended a world premiere concert, and that night marked the first time he’d had a concert devoted to his music for film rather than as a member of the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.

Danny Elfman’s Music From The Films Of Tim Burton (surprisingly not sponsored by Ronseal) premiered to a packed audience at the Royal Albert Hall before going to Leeds, Glasgow and Birmingham, and hopefully the punters there had as glorious a time as most of those attending the RAH.

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Mostly Shorts

An occasional series in which Mostly Film looks at the best short films being distributed on the web

A scene from the 2013 Best Short Film Oscar-winner 'Inocente'
A scene from the 2013 Best Short Film Oscar-winner ‘Inocente’

MostlyFilm likes big. MostlyFilm likes small. And given that we’re rather small ourselves, we like to see the things we champion get big: whether that be an individual film or a niche film festival. This feature is basically a one-stop window for the best – or at least the prettiest – of what’s going on in the world of short films and web series: a new artistic world that’s grown extraordinarily fast in the last ten years.

If you’ve made a short film yourself, or have just seen one you particularly like, please email, point us to it, and we’ll see what we can put together. If we get enough responses, we may put on an event in a central London cinema for outstanding respondents. So if you’re struggling to finish that short film, now might be the time to push it over the line.

What follows after the jump isn’t at all indicative of what we’re looking for; it’s just what’s turned up in our trawls over the past few weeks. The emphasis is on animated work, which doesn’t necessarily suggest a bias on our part: it’s just a reflection of how expensive live-action stuff is in comparison. You needn’t feel inhibited about nominating something different. In fact, we’d encourage you to do so. Continue reading Mostly Shorts

Firebombs and Broomsticks

Indy Datta takes a look at the new BluRays of Ghibli’s Grave of the Fireflies and Kiki’s Delivery Service.


After the recent theatrical run for the 1988 Ghibli double bill of Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbour Totoro and Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies, today sees the release of a slew of Studio Ghibli titles in DVD/Blu-ray dual format editions. I was lucky enough to score review copies of Fireflies and Miyazaki’s follow-up to TotoroKiki’s Delivery Service. Thoughts on the films and the discs after the jump.

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The Perfect American

By Spank The Monkey

The Perfect American

I don’t go to many first nights at the opera. As I settled into my seat at the Coliseum for the UK premiere of Philip Glass’ The Perfect American, his new piece about the final days of Walt Disney’s life, I suddenly flashed back to a first night I attended twenty-five years ago. That was also at the Coliseum, and it was for another Philip Glass opera. The Making Of The Representative For Planet 8 was his adaptation of a Doris Lessing sci-fi novel, and I can remember precisely one thing about it.

Roughly three-quarters of the way through Planet 8, there was a brief pause in between sections. Outside, there was a sudden commotion, and a police car could be heard roaring down St Martin’s Lane, its siren NEE-NAW-NEE-NAWing at full volume like they used to back in the eighties. The orchestra paused, waited for the noise to die down, and then launched into the next part of the opera. This being Philip Glass, it started with a simple repeated bass figure on the strings, just a pair of notes separated by a minor third. It went nee-naw-nee-naw. The audience laugh that followed was extraordinary – a sudden burst of guffawing, which was just as suddenly truncated as everyone remembered that the composer of both of those notes was sitting in the room with them.

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A Liar’s Autobiography

by Emma Street

Liars Autobiography

A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman  is based on Graham Chapman’s fictionalised autobiography which was first published in 1981. Chapman recorded an audio version of his book and this voice recording is used as the soundtrack to the film along with new voice recordings from John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam. Eric Idle is the only no-show from the Monty Python team.

Fourteen different animation studios worked on the project, animating separate chunks of the film. “Creatively, the different styles reflect the stages in Graham’s life.” said one of the directors, Jeff Simpson, in an interview “Also, it saves us a lot of time.”

Chapman died at the age of 48 from throat cancer. The other members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus have forged successful careers as directors, Hollywood A-list actors and the like while Chapman never had much chance to establish a career post-Python. What with being dead and all.

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Surviving Švankmajer

by Spank The Monkey

Type the name of Jan Švankmajer into YouTube during a dull afternoon at work, and you’ll be rewarded with hours of visually inventive, intellectually playful entertainment. But you’ll probably be rewarded with a P45 as well: the world of Švankmajer is – let’s emphasise this up front – quite definitively Not Safe For Work. Unless you work in a mental institution. Or an abattoir.

Czech surrealist/animator Švankmajer has been making films for close on five decades now, but for the most part they’ve been shorts: in those fifty years, he’s directed only six full-length features. Three of them have just been released on DVD by New Wave Films, and between them they provide a convenient snapshot of his strengths and weaknesses.

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